Many companies are noticing the immediate financial and productivity benefits that come with making the transition to a paperless office. In order to do this, however, it is important for other companies that you are reliant on to offer paperless options and services as well, and that means that the bank you do business with must be paperless, too.
For a while, one of the main obstacles for companies trying to ditch their need for paper was the lack of banking options that support paperless operations. While paper checks have long been replaced by digital means in most public consumer transactions, payments between large corporations in the business arena have continued to utilize paper checks for more sizable transactions.
The continued use of such archaic payment forms has remained in place largely because of the lack of safe and secure digital means to process large transactions. Hopefully, that is all about to change, thanks to a large transportation company and their bank.
Navistar Is Leading the Way
A manufacturer of medium and heavy trucks, buses, and defense vehicles, Navistar decided to reduce its reliance on paper when they realizeed how much money they were losing with each paper check they sent out to suppliers. The cost of postage, printing, and labour for handling the transport, as well as bank processing fees, all started to add up.
When Navistar brought up this matter to their banking institution, their concerns were heard, and some important pieces of technology and changes in protocol were put in place to help the company reduce the amount of paper-based payments they sent out. Forbes has recorded Andrew Bernardi, cash operations director at Navistar, as saying, “Citi Payment Exchange played a critical role in our ability to achieve our goals of reducing the number of check payments we made to our supply chain. The secure platform and integrated supplier enrollment capabilities helped convert more than 1,100 suppliers to electronic payments and eliminate more than 70,000 check payments handled by our accounts payable group.”
This one move in the direction of paperless corporate banking has made waves, and Citigroup is now moving to offer similar services to other corporate entities. This could very well change the way business is done in a very positive way.
One of the reasons the banking industry seems a little late to the game of paperless services is due to the lack of secure platforms to use when handling such sensitive information and transactions. The security of the transferred funds and information is be of supreme importance, and not having a secure platform to handle such tasks made it impossible for paperless corporate banking to really take off.
Now that the tech world is finally catching up with the needs of this industry there are some great platform options available. Citigroup uses eDelivery, which was designed in-house by technicians hired by Citigroup.
Michelle Erickson, initiatives director for Citigroup’s sustainable Information Technology program, states: “EDelivery acts as ‘global utility.’ It is the starting point for electronic statements and communications for all Citi business units.” As the company learns to better integrate this platform, it will be able to offer more and more paperless services to their clients.
There are a lot of complex needs that had to be accounted for when finding the right platform to adopt, which is why Citigroup chose to build one from the bottom up. While eDelivery was created specifically for the way Citigroup handles accounts and funds, experts like Jeremy Quittner from American Banker feels that it won’t be long before other financial institutions take note and begin bargaining to purchase a variation of the program or building their own to follow suit.
So what kind of platform is needed in the industry? Quittner has explains: “A unified platform for electronic communication can certainly give banks more consistency, but a bigger problem is consumers’ general lack of trust in electronic statements. That can only be alleviated by giving them a deep archive and assurances about access.”
Citigroup Marketing Efforts
Now that eDelivery has proven its worth with some important corporate clients, they’ve launched marketing campaigns to attract new clients. None are as impressive as “ecosweepstakes,” their environmental campaign.
According to FinExtra, ecosweepstakes is turning heads in the corporate arena. This was a smart move in many ways. Most companies are already aware of the benefits that can come from moving to more paperless formats.
By highlighting the eco-friendly nature of paperless banking, Citigroup is offering companies a good way to save money through paperless banking, and the chance to take advantage of a good PR opportunity. Companies that choose to trust and utilize the eDelivery corporate banking format will be able to market the fact that they make environmentally friendly choices to their clients.